Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Contortionist / Revocation / Fallujah @ Empire 2/18/2015

I went to see The Contortionist /Revocation at Empire ($15) this week. I had heard good things about Fallujah and The Contortionist, but wasn't sure about Toothgrinder. I was curious as to how Revocation would be compared to previous shows (2012, 2013) where I thought they were a bit lackluster. I did see a few friends there - Ariel, John H, Sean, Ashley,  and Scott.


As I entered, there seemed to be a pretty packed house, especially for a Wednesday! There were about 250-300 people there (including bands) composed from a wide variety of people- black, white, hipster, metalhead, normal people, lesbians, straight people, male, female, and more!

 


Merchandise, Revocation had a number of ($20) shirts, their CDs ($15), and a hoodie. The Contortionist also had shirts, CDs ($15), Vinyl. Fallujah had a selection as well. After Revocation and The Contortionist's sets their respective merch tables were swamped.  



I got there to see about 3/4 of Fallujah's set. Their sound was a mix of djenty metalcore with a little bit of prog. I don't believe I'd seen this band hailing from San Fransisco, California before. The sound system was remarkably clear for Empire for their set, it was sounding pretty great. I unfortunately didn't get into their set much, but enough to bob my head and get in a metal(ish) mood. I liked the djenty parts, but the 'core parts kind of ruined the vibe. One guitarist's gauges and skrillex haircut were a bit much too. The crowd seemed to appreciate it, tho, as there was a bit of ruckus going on in the pit area.



Death/Thrash metal band Revocation from Boston, MA was up next to an eagerly awaiting crowd. They were pretty well received, looking at the moshing and overall crowd movements flaring up at appropriate pitting times. I thought this was certainly the best of the 3 times I've seen them (once in 2012, and another in 2013), but I'm still not a huge fan. Their sound was pretty clear, thankfully for a 2/2 great sounds tonight, Empire! The frontman still had a bit of humour in his addressing the crowd, throwing a couple silly comments in. His look combined with some of his vocal stylings reminded me of Mastodon (although not boring, thankfully), which seemed rather odd to me. Regardless, the best parts were the guitars in "Madness Opus" and  "Witch Trials," both off of their latest album, "Deathless." Setlist wise they drew from mainly that latest LP, which was fine with me, because I only partially recall the one album of theirs I have. Much better than last time for sure, but I doubt I'd go see them headline.


The Contortionist took the stage to a slightly less full floor (perhaps people migrated to the bar instead?). This metal band from Indianapolis, Indiana has an odd mix of styles going on in their brand of progressive music-  I think I'd describe their sound as a cross between TesseracT and Deafheaven, with a bit of 'core thrown in. As one friend said when they started playing "They sound like music that my daughter likes" (which was a bad thing to him). It's definitely not for everyone, as I know a couple friends of mine left early. However, the remaining fans were no less dedicated, but perhaps a bit less frantic than the Revocation pits. There was a little bit of moshing, fist pumping, and even the crowd surfers came out to play too!  I thought their best song was their last one, "Parable," which had a particularly ethereal guitar solo.



At one point, during an extended instrumental piece, the on metalhead looking guitarist ran off stage, presumably to the WC. A short time later, he made his way back to continue playing. I don't think I've ever seen someone take such an urgent break while on stage. Wouldn't you do what must be done BEFORE going on stage?



On a side note that doesn't affect the performance, but rather perception, I thought this was not a handsome band. Their visual makeup perhaps mirrored the wide range of styles they play. We had a skinny ROTCfrontman, someone's nerdy younger brother on guitar, some metalhead on other guitar, a racially ambiguous guy (Jordan Eberhardt) really into the groove on bass, a 'normal looking guy' drummer, and I don't really remember the or the keyboardist that I saw for one song. They certainly played their asses off, and there were no complaints there, but I have to say that it was like looking at Anvil on stage. These guys are really talented, and I'm curious as to how future records will be.




Overall, it was a good show despite me preferring the Fates Warning style of Progressive rather than Between the Buried and Me, for example. A good night of metal, something different!

Next show: 1349. 'nuff said.


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Setlists
Fallujah (?8:45- 9:00)
  • ? (probably Levitation based on other setlists)
  • Cerebral Hybridization
  • Sapphire
Revocation (9:12- 9:50)
  • Deathless
  • Dismantle the Dictator
  • Labyrinth of Eyes
  • No Funeral
  • Madness Opus
  • Witch Trials
The Contortionist (10:09- 11:15 a similar set is linked here)
  • ?
  • ?
  • The Language
  • ?
  • ?
  • ?
  • ?
  • -
  • The Parable